Ezekiel and the glory of the Lord

One of the most interesting prophets of the Bible (interesting because of what happened to him) is undoubtedly Ezekiel.

Ezekiel was the son of Buzi and was married, but it is difficult to find the name of his wife, she died about 4 years after God called him a prophet. The Book of Genesis reports that around 597 B.C., he and other Jews were deported (resettled) by King Nebuchadnezzar II to the community of Tell-Abib on the Kebar River (actually a canal) in Chaldea, Babylonia, near the city of Nippur.

The events described below took place around 593-592 BC.

Ezekiel 1,1-28:

1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, when I was in the midst of the captives by the river Chobar, the heavens were opened, and I saw the visions of God…
…4 And I saw, and behold a whirlwind came out of the north: and a great cloud, and a fire infolding it, and brightness was about it: and out of the midst thereof, that is, out of the midst of the fire, as it were the resemblance of amber:
5 And in the midst thereof the likeness of four living creatures: and this was their appearance: there was the likeness of a man in them.
6 Every one had four faces, and every one four wings.
7 Their feet were straight feet, and the sole of their foot was like the sole of a calf’s foot, and they sparkled like the appearance of glowing brass.
8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides: and they had faces, and wings on the four sides,
9 And the wings of one were joined to the wings of another. They turned not when they went: but every one went straight forward.
10 And as for the likeness of their faces: there was the face of a man, and the face of a lion on the right side of all the four: and the face of an ox, on the left side of all the four: and the face of an eagle over all the four.
11 And their faces, and their wings were stretched upward: two wings of every one were joined, and two covered their bodies:
12 And every one of them went straight forward: whither the impulse of the spirit was to go, thither they went: and they turned not when they went.
13 And as for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like that of burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps. This was the vision running to and fro in the midst of the living creatures, a bright fire, and lightning going forth from the fire.
14 And the living creatures ran and returned like flashes of lightning.
15 Now as I beheld the living creatures, there appeared upon the earth by the living creatures one wheel with four faces.
16 And the appearance of the wheels, and the work of them was like the appearance of the sea: and the four had all one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the midst of a wheel.
17 When they went, they went by their four parts: and they turned not when they went.
18 The wheels had also a size, and a height, and a dreadful appearance: and the whole body was full of eyes round about all the four.
19 And, when the living creatures went, the wheels also went together by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels also were lifted up with them.
20 Withersoever the spirit went, thither as the spirit went the wheels also were lifted up withal, and followed it: for the spirit of life was in the wheels.
21 When those went these went, and when those stood these stood, and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together, and followed them: for the spirit of life was in the wheels.
22 And over the heads of the living creatures was the likeness of the firmament, the appearance of crystal terrible to behold, and stretched out over their heads above.
23 And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other, every one with two wings covered his body, and the other was covered in like manner.
24 And I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, as it were the voice of the most high God: when they walked, it was like the voice of a multitude, like the noise of an army, and when they stood, their wings were let down.
25 For when a voice came from above the firmament, that was over their heads, they stood, and let down their wings.
26 And above the firmament that was over their heads, was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of the sapphire stone, and upon the likeness of the throne, was the likeness of the appearance of a man above upon it.
27 And I saw as it were the resemblance of amber as the appearance of fire within it round about: from his loins and upward, and from his loins downward, I saw as it were the resemblance of fire shining round about.
28 As the appearance of the rainbow when it is in a cloud on a rainy day: this was the appearance of the brightness round about.

What did Ezekiel see? Was it a figment of his imagination? Did he imagine it himself?

I sincerely doubt that, Ezekiel belonged to a family of high social status, because the resettlements affected such people. Before he became a prophet of the Lord, he did not have to lie to people about his supposed visions to achieve his status.

Was he stupid?

I also doubt it, he was probably not technically educated, considering the devices and machines we know very well, but what he saw seemed otherworldly. The accuracy of the entire description, attention to detail, and, above all, the first-person narrative make us conclude that Ezekiel DESCRIBED WHAT HE SAW! He didn’t understand it (the technique) so he DESCRIBED IT IN HIS WORDS.

Ezekiel 3,12-14:

12 And the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great commotion, saying: Blessed be the glory of the Lord, from his place.
13 The noise of the wings of the living creatures striking one against another, and the noise of the wheels following the living creatures, and the noise of a great commotion.
14 The spirit also lifted me, and took me up: and I went away in bitterness in the indignation of my spirit: for the hand of the Lord was with me, strengthening me.

From this part we can conclude that the glory of the Lord took Ezekiel with him. The events took place at a different time than the first sighting.

Ezekiel 3,22-23:

22 And the hand of the Lord was upon me, and he said to me: Rise and go forth into the plain, and there I will speak to thee.
23 And I rose up, and went forth into the plain: and behold the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory which I saw by the river Chobar: and I fell upon my face.

This part from the Book of Genesis provides a second vision in which the Lord appears to Ezekiel in the glory of the Lord, the same as that which the prophet had previously seen at the River Kebar. This time Ezekiel does not go into detail about what he saw, because HE SAW THE SAME – the same glory of the Lord.

Ezekiel 11,22-24:

22 And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and the wheels with them: and the glory of the God of Israel was over them.
23 And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood over the mount that is on the east side of the city.
24 And the spirit lifted me up, and brought me into Chaldea, to them of the captivity, in vision, by the spirit of God: and the vision which I had seen was taken up from me.

The next part describes Ezekiel’s return (from Jerusalem) in the glory of the Lord to his countrymen in Chaldea.

The big question is not whether it really happened, but what really happened there?

Was Ezekiel taken aboard the glory of the Lord and carried from place to place, or did he only have a vision, a dream, a dream that would explain it?

On the other hand, if the God wanted to move around the earth himself and take one of his followers with him, what was the point of all this? Wouldn’t it be easier for a being, spiritual and omnipotent by the way, to just think about it and make it happen?

Or maybe Ezekiel saw a flying device with a pilot on the board, which would be completely natural for us, modern people…

The relevant quotes are from The Holy Bible DOUAY-RHEIMS VERSION.

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